Vs. 51, “You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit!” Remember, yesterday’s QT ended with the Sanhedrin listening false testimonies of people saying lies about Stephen speaking blasphemy. Stephen is given his opportunity to defend himself (vs. 1-53). Stephen’s speech is the longest one in Acts and it paves the way to reveal a very profound truth. Question: What is that truth? Stephen starts to give a nice little history lesson from Genesis. Of course, this would have been review to the Jewish audience. But, Stephen is reminding the Jews that God has historically worked in all parts of His creation. God was not confined just to the temple. Additionally, the Jews continued to reject God’s messengers, especially Jesus (vs. 52). This angelic face of Stephen delivered a very tough but honest message. You are sinners. The truth did not sit well for them. Stephen would be the New Testament’s church’s first martyr. And notice how Saul (who would later change his name to Paul) was there as well (vs. 58).
Regarding application…Ready to Die. Vs. 59, “While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Stephen had so much to offer. Stephen was highly esteemed and chosen by the apostles to be one of the seven to assist in the ministry of the church. Question: Why would God allow Stephen to die? I don’t have the answer, but I do know his life and testimony of faith has encouraged the church even after nearly two thousand years later. Many have taken that same road over the centuries by literally realizing we gain by dying (Philippians 1:21). It impresses my heart so much that Stephen was ready to die for his faith and belief in the Lord! Brothers & sisters…this gives us some perspective, huh? It reminds us of the bigger picture about how we see our lives. We are all just traveler’s and sojourners in a temporary fallen world. That fact actually gives me great comfort. While I want to live as long as I can to love my wife and share the Gospel, I also realize I should be ready to die for Christ. The more we read and know the Bible, the more we will be ready to answer a lost world even if it means being ready to die.